Title: Pale Reflection
Word Count: 2,287
Warnings: Nothing really, no pairings or spoilers.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Pre-series. A cursed mirror traps Dean's soul behind its glass, while his body is hijacked by a spirit. There's a limited amount of time to save him before the doppelganger is all that's left but will John and Sam even notice Dean's missing?
A/N: A huge thank you to extraonions for the initial beta and helpful comments and to thehighwaywoman for the final beta. This was written for the evil!Dean ficathon over at LJ.
The murders occurred every seven years.
The victims were always female.
The deaths were always classified as 'accidental'.
They always happened on the same calendar day: July 30.
The house where the murders occurred was an old and sorry sight. It had once been a beautiful family home, but years of neglect had now reduced the building to a boarded up wreck. The remnants of an overgrown garden surrounded it, obscuring the cracked path that led to the front door. Originally a brilliant blue color, the only remains of the door's paint was a few cracked and faded patches. Out back a frayed rope hung from the branch of a tree. Below it laid the tire that had provided hours of fun and laughter to the children that had lived there over the years.
Since the last murder, the house had been sitting abandoned. The owner who inherited it had shown no interest whatsoever beyond selling. Most of the furnishings and unwanted belongings had simply been left behind. The history of the house and its position on the far outskirts of a small town had put off many potential buyers and the owner gave up on selling a long ago.
The locals spun tales of a family curse, an unrequited love ending in suicide and murderous, restless spirits. Their children, however, spurred on by these rumors would visit the house on dares in the dead of night and return with tales of spirits, monsters and gore so fantastical that it was hard to tell what was true and what were wild imaginings.
John Winchester was certain of only two things. One, women were dying and two, there was something in the house that was killing them.
"I don't want to go, Dad!"
"That decision is not up to you, Sam."
Dean sighed, relaxing back on his bed and picking up a magazine for distraction. The raised voices of his dad and brother came from the kitchen, but the paper thin walls of the apartment meant that they might as well have been arguing in the same room as him.
"Why do we have to leave? That's all we ever do!" Sam paused, and Dean knew a change of tactic was coming. He could almost see the earnest expression Sam no doubt was wearing. "Dad, c'mon, you're only going for the job and the town is just three hours from here. Toby said it was fine with his parents if I stayed with them. You can pick me up afterwards."
Dean heard the kettle being switched on and the thud of a cup forcefully placed on the worktop waiting to be filled.
"Even if I agreed to this Sam, it wouldn't change anything. We're still leaving this town." The kettle clicked off.
"Yeah, so you can start dragging our asses all over the country again."
"Sam!" A sigh. "This discussion is over. Go pack your bag."
"Yes, sir." Sam said, pouring as much sarcasm as a fourteen year old could into his reply. Dean redoubled his attempts to concentrate on the magazine as he heard Sam stomp down the hall to their tiny and, unfortunately, shared bedroom. Sam slammed the door behind him so hard that it rattled in its hinges. He stormed over to his bed, dropping heavily to sit with a scowl.
"So, I take it Dad didn't change his mind." Dean looked up, giving up pretending to read the magazine for now. It had been the same argument for over a week, ever since Dad had found a hunt and announced their plans for the summer vacation, and Sam had announced his own. Even when they hadn't been flat out shouting at each other the disagreement lingered, filling the air with tension, just waiting to break out again. Sam had spent hours trying to convince Dean to take his side.
"It's not fair, Dean!" Sam burst out, smacking his bed with a fist.
Dean had the sinking feeling he'd just opened the dam to everything Sam thought was unfair. "Yeah, I got that much" he muttered as he swung his feet off the bed, sitting up and pushing the magazine to one side to face Sam.
"I could have stayed at Toby's while you took care of this job and then you could have come picked me up. It's not a three-man job. I'd have been happy, you'd have been happy, hell, everyone would have been happy. I don't see why he's so stubborn."
"Sam, he wouldn't have been happy. Not leaving you three hours drive away with some strangers."
"They're not strangers. I've known Toby for months."
"Exactly, only months, Sam. Besides, we're moving to a new town anyway. Dad only stayed this long to let you finish out the school year. You'd have had to say goodbye anyway."
"That's my point! They're my friends, I didn't want to say goodbye, I wanted longer!"
"Sam, Dad does what he does for a reason."
"Trust you to take his side." Sam muttered.
"I'm not taking anyone's side!"
"Then be a man, Dean and pick one! Don't sit on the fence, you're either on his side or mine! Don't you have friends here? We stayed here long enough, isn't there anyone you don't want to say goodbye to?"
"No." Dean replied, picking up his packed bag and heading out to the Impala. Sam had hit home. Dean had no one to say goodbye to. He knew they weren't settling down and unlike Sam he didn't see the point in making friends only to leave. There were casual acquaintances, nothing more. He had people he hung out with, who he spoke to and joked with but they weren't his friends despite what Sam might think.
Actually, thinking about it with a smile, leaning against the Impala, he had quite a few female acquaintances in town. Maybe it hadn't been so bad after all.
Three hours later the Impala pulled up the driveway to the haunted house. Weeds and grass had forced themselves up between the cracks creating a crazy paving effect.
"Okay boys, you know the drill. We're looking for EMF," John reminded them. "We'll take a look around see what we can find before we come back at night. We should be safe, it's daylight and this thing only goes after women, but be careful."
"Yes sir," they both replied.
"I'll take the ground floor, you two can handle upstairs." John ordered.
"Maybe we should use Sam for bait?" Dean suggested as they headed towards the house.
"What?" Sam shot Dean a glare; he'd been bait last time.
"It only kills women, Dean," said John.
"Exactly! Sam's girly enough, aren't you?" Dean said nudging Sam's shoulder playfully. Out the corner of his eye he saw his dad struggling to hide his grin.
"Language, Sam." This time obeying his father, Sam settled for giving Dean a look of death as they entered the property.
On the first floor was a folding attic staircase. Dean decided to leave Sam to finish checking the bedrooms as he looked up the staircase. He couldn't see much other than the ceiling of the room. As he climbed the stairs they creaked ominously, and Dean cautiously tested each one before putting his weight on it.
Behind the door Dean discovered a small attic room that, from the look of things had been mainly used for storage. An old desk, a wardrobe tipped on its side and a sofa right in the middle, stacked with piles of paper, were the main features of the attic. The roof sloped down on either side, the center of the room being the only place where Dean didn't have to duck his head. The floor was scattered with boxes, some stacked and covered in tarps, with still more littered around the outskirts of the room. The whole place was coated in a fine layer of dust.
As Dean moved around the room, disturbing the dust, it danced, swirling in the air illuminated by the single window in the centre of the far wall. He moved to look out the window, noticing that the room faced the back of the house, with nothing to see but the overgrown garden and beyond the old fence fields stretching as far as the eye could see. It made the house seem very lonely, being so empty of life and far from any real civilisation.
There was a smell of mildew that Dean had come to associate with old books and as he ran his finger down the edge of a box he bet that was what a fair few of the boxes held.
Sam would be in his element with this.
Thinking of his brother he turned to leave, planning to tell him about the room. Before he could, he spotted a large standing mirror in the corner. From the doorway it had been obstructed from view by a couple of stacked boxes. Made out of a dark wood, it had vines, leaves and branches intricately carved into it, wrapping around the entire frame. It was the only thing in the room that didn't look like unwanted rubbish or books.
Dean found himself attracted to it. However, standing in front he was taken aback to discover he saw no reflection of himself. He moved closer, positioning himself directly in front of the mirror, but still he could see no reflection beyond that of the room. He leaned from side to side, trying to figure out if someone had bizarrely decided to do a realistic painting of the attic, but it seemed it was just a mirror that didn't want to show him his image. Keeping his eyes on the mirror, he nudged the box closest to him with his foot. The box in the mirror also moved.
This isn't right. I bet my future ownership of the Impala that this is somehow related to the murders in the house. It's gotta be some kind of magic or supernatural something. Dad'll know what it is.
As he turned to leave, Dean caught sight of the faded inscription at the top of the mirror. It looked vaguely like Latin and was covered in a dark smudge obscuring most of the words. Pulling his sleeve over his hand Dean reached up, wiping it away.
decipi frons prima multos
Tracing his fingers over the curling ledger, automatically translating it in his head Dean muttered the Latin to himself, the first appearance deceives many.
As he said the last word there was a sharp pain and the sensation of falling, yet he knew he was standing. He could feel the floor beneath his feet. His knees were locked and his hands clutched at his head. His body wasn't moving yet his mind screamed to him beyond the pain that he was falling. Then the pain increased, and he knew no more.
Sam dragged his feet as he left the last stunningly pink bedroom, wondering how anyone could stand to have a room entirely that color. Dean joined him on the small landing, looking somewhat dazed. Sam smiled, hoping that maybe there was more than one luminous pink room.
"Where've you been?" Sam asked after a brief pause when Dean continued the blank stare. He was creeping Sam out with the lack of recognition.
"Uh, attic?" Dean said tentatively and frowned. Sam saw him reach for his throat as though confused that the voice he heard speaking was him.
"You all right?"
"What? Yeah, yeah." Dean's hand dropped like a stone. "I'm...I'm really good." Dean said looking down at his body and grinning in appreciation. Dean was so full of himself sometime, Sam thought.
"Anything interesting up there?" Sam moved around him, looking up at the door to the attic.
"No!" Dean flung out an arm stopping him. "Absolutely nothing."
Sam shrugged past. If Dean wanted to stop him, then there had to besomething interesting up there.
"Dean, Sam, find anything?" John called up from the bottom of the stairs.
"No sir." Sam's reply was immediate, echoed slightly later by Dean.
"Did you check the top floor?"
"Yeah, nothing there but boxes of books." Dean replied slowly, over enunciating his words.
"What kind of books?" Sam asked curiously. So this was why Dean didn't want him going up there. Dean shot him a glare and replied flatly.
"Dad, can I go–"
"Alright boys, let's leave."
"But, Dad!" Sam ran down the stairs, completely forgetting about Dean's earlier confusion.
Dean moaned, waking up slowly. He felt the solid hard floor beneath him rather than the warm, soft bed he had been hoping for. His head felt like it had gone a few rounds with a hammer.
Opening his eyes, he groaned. He was still in the attic.
Climbing unsteadily to his feet Dean stumbled to the door. He thought about shouting for his dad or brother, letting them know where he was, but then decided the extra pain that his head would no doubt bestow upon him wasn't worth it.
He turned the handle and pushed against the door. It didn't open. He yanked the handle down, pushing harder, figuring it had somehow gotten stuck. Still, the door didn't budge. Concerned, Dean put all his weight against it. There wasn't even the smallest amount of movement from the door.
"Dad! Sam!" He thumped on the door. Pain flared in his head, but there was no response. He rammed himself into the door a few times but succeeded only in giving himself a sore shoulder.
"Dad! I'm stuck in the attic! Sam! I need some help here!" The silence on the other side fuelled the panic in Dean. He banged harder on the door.
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